autumn

My lawn is covered in leaves.  Copper beech tree leaves, to be specific.  I have filled both of my giant recycling container, and there are still leaves all over the lawn. And the sidewalk. And the street gutters.

Personally, I don’t care much about leaves on my lawn, as long as they don’t get so thick that they kill my lawn.  I just wish I could teach the tree to drop them only on MY lawn.  Or train the leaves to stay directly under the tree until I can get round to them.  But they don’t. The wind blows and they go skittering and flipping over onto my neighbor’s lawn.

My neighbor has a perfect lawn.  No clover in it (I love clover).  No fairy ring mushrooms. (I have several circles of those.)  He has this very fine bladed grass, all the same, even the same color.  It is always all the same height.  My lawn is an interesting patchwork of greens because I often reseed bald spots with whatever grass seed is on sale or still in the garage. 

For all its faults, I do like my lawn.  I also like my huge copper beech tree that drops leaves everywhere.  I like the roots that hummock up a bit and make spots that are hard to mow. I like the pigeons that nest in the tree and make hoos all summer long.  I like the psycho squirrel that likes to bait my cat.

But sad to say, some of my neighbors do not share my opinion.  My one neighbor rakes his lawn every single day to exactly the property line, so that everyone can see where his perfection leaves off (ha! a pun!) and my mess begins.  And because I am sometimes very puerile about these things, it makes me not want to rake my lawn.  I make huge piles of leaves, and I think he peers out his window and becomes hopeful that I will actually confine them. And instead my grandchildren race and roll and throw handfuls of them up into the air. And beg me not to make the leaves go away, not just yet. 

But, really, it is time to tidy them away and get ready for the next season.

Ah, well.  I need to let Robin get another 1000 words today, and then I’ll take the hands and go out and wrap them around a rake and clean up at least part of the lawn.  Maybe I can fit a few more leaves into my recycling containers. Or maybe I’ll use icky big plastic bags.

You know what I really miss?  I miss making huge piles of leaves and then setting them on fire.  We used to do that when I was a kid. Burn big piles of autumn leaves.  Everyone did. The smoke combined with the fall fogs and it smelled restless and dangerous and magical. I liked to make my fires at the very edge of evening right before night.  My dogs would come and help me. They would have been running through the tall grass and they’d come to me in the darkness with their fur beaded all with tiny silver droplets of water.  Sometimes my brothers and I would wrap potatoes in tinfoil and throw them in the fire.  And later, we’d rake out the blackened tinfoil packets and open them with cautious fingers.  Inside would be the leaf baked potatoes, and we’d eat them out of the foil, burning our fingers and mouths. Potatoes and smoke and columns of sparks flying up whenever we tossed more fuel on the fire.

I miss that.

Life traded me a neighbor who doesn’t allow fallen beech leaves on his lawn for dogs wearing jeweled coats and potatoes eaten from blackened foil.

What kind of a deal is that?

M

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  • habiliments says:

    People with perfect lawns always reinforce for me my theory that much that we’re supposed to do in life that has to do with homes and appearance – lawns, landscaping, caring whether one’s walls match one’s carpet in the perfect Pottery Barn shade of puce – is just a trick to keep us busy, distracted and supporting the economy. What other reason can there be for the kind of person who thinks raking leaves in a straight line is more important than sitting in front of the fire (or, in my case, pretend stove thing that heats with a tiny gas flame) and finishing a book in one sitting while absently petting a cat and sipping from coffee long gone cold? They’ve bought in to the pretty pitch, brought to them via Home Depot commercials.

    If nothing else, it’s something to tell myself when I’m reluctant to sit on my own floor and haven’t braved the bathtub in the better part of a year…